19 day old AND three 1 day old babies in same nest -same parents

by fancynan
(Missouri, USA)

HELP PLEASE!

I have researched the web intensively for over 2 weeks but can find no answer and today I have 3 babies that hatched during last night and today.

I have a young pair (15 months old) of Gouldians that have been breeding crazy. I didn't plan to breed them until next year but they started trying to nest in the food dishes. They have one 19 or 20 day old baby AND 3 1 day old babies in the nest. The parents are very excited and you can tell they are trying very hard to coax the older baby out of the nest. The female built a higher level platform for the eggs than where the baby sits down lower in the nest so she's done her best to try to seperate the big baby from the eggs. One egg fell out but since I didn't think they'd be fertile I wasn't worried until I saw that there was a fully developed baby in the egg (yesterday). I was putting some foam padding in the bottom of the nest tonight when I noticed a brand new hatchling on the bottom of the cage -still alive, so I put it back in the nest and that's when I noticed the other babies. They are under and around the older baby but the mother goes in often and appears to be feeding them around the older baby. When she sits it appears she's keeping her back to the older baby and trying to roost with the younger ones, though I haven't seen any feeding. The nest is one of those wicker ones and I don't want to have to shine a flashlight in the nest often.

I can't find anything that addresses TWO SETS of babies in the nest at the SAME TIME. She started laying these eggs that are hatching today when the little guy was only a week or so old, and because I didn't want her to abandon the him I left the eggs. My two breeder contacts told the me eggs would not be fertile or even if they were they wouldn't get to hatching because the parents wouldn't be able to rotate the eggs properly. Neither has the faintest clue to what to do now. Should I try to pull the baby and put him with the father in a different cage, or just let nature take it's course? The mother is obviously a very dedicted sitter. PLEASE ADVISE.

Wow, I just finished answering this same question from another reader, so you aren't alone. A situation like you described is one of the reasons why so many breeders keep a couple of society finches on fostering standby.

It sounds as though the parents are working real hard to save them all. I hope they can keep that up because your only other choice of action would be to try hand feeding. Unless your breeder friends have experience hand feeding and will help you, I think I would just leave it to the parents to do the best they can. Just FYI, I think there is a good chance that this behaviour of laying eggs too soon may repeat its self in the future. I do hope not.

Good luck, Jeanie

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